One of the interesting issues we discussed in the first class is whether journalists should enjoy any greater legal privileges than members of the public as a whole.
Most of you thought no, and that is the legal position in relation to most of the issues we will discuss on this course.
However one exception is worth noting. Although Hong Kong, U.K. and U.S. federal law do not offer any special protection to journalists against being forced to disclose their confidential sources, more than 30 states in the U.S. have enacted their own “shield” laws which do offer journalists a degree of special protection against disclosing confidential sources.
Increasingly, in the Internet age, this is leading to problems in deciding who is and is not a journalist, and so falls within the scope of these laws, especially in relation to bloggers. See, for instance:
Many thanks to Jaime for drawing the first of these cases to my attention